App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

During the past few weeks the number of complaints against Apple’s practices concerning the App Store has not gone unnoticed. While previous complaints by unhappy developers were perceived as isolated cases it would seem that now the flood gates have been opened, and the stream is primarily targeting Apple. In Europe, this development has been given quite some media coverage […]

Spotify lodges antitrust complaint against Apple: it’s ‘time to play fair’ in the music streaming industry

Spotify lodges antitrust complaint against Apple: it’s ‘time to play fair’ in the music streaming industry

On March 13th, Spotify filed a formal antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC). In the complaint, Spotify alleges that Apple has been using its App Store to impede Spotify’s competitive potential to the advantage of Apple Music—its biggest competitor in the music streaming business. In what follows, I quickly examine the contentious history between Spotify and Apple […]

Business users vs. platforms – a (not entirely) new battle frontier

Business users vs. platforms – a (not entirely) new battle frontier

The recent complaint of Spotify against Apple is yet another case concerning the contractual relationship between online platforms and their business users that appear to arise quite often these days. In the context of these cases the business users of online platforms claim to be subject to undesired practices such discriminatory treatment and unreasonable pricing. The essence of most of […]

When competition law met data protection: the Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

When competition law met data protection: the Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

On February 6th, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt or BKA) adopted its long-awaited Facebook decision, imposing far-reaching restrictions on how the social network can collect and process user data. This decision follows a preliminary assessment that the BKA published in December 2017, which this blog discussed at length. The BKA’s decision—as set out in a case summary and background paper—sticks […]

Abuse of dominance through data overcharges and EU competition law enforcement

Abuse of dominance through data overcharges and EU competition law enforcement

The past year the EU commission and numerous competition authorities have addressed the matter of applying competition law to online platforms. The discussions concerning Facebook and Amazon have even touched upon the difficult relation between data and competition law. Despite the many debates concerning the application of competition law in digital markets, little attestation was given to the calculation of […]

It’s raining Amazon probes: the Bundeskartellamt joins the Commission in investigating the tech giant’s marketplace practices

It’s raining Amazon probes: the Bundeskartellamt joins the Commission in investigating the tech giant’s marketplace practices

The investigation On 29 November 2018, the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) announced an investigation into Amazon’s business terms and practices on its German marketplace. The Bundeskartellamt’s president commented: Amazon is the largest online retailer and operates by far the largest online marketplace in Germany. Many retailers and manufacturers depend on the reach of Amazon’s marketplace for their online sales. Amazon […]

The Commission’s Amazon probe: overcoming the antitrust paradox

The Commission’s Amazon probe: overcoming the antitrust paradox

In a press conference on September 19th, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager announced a preliminary investigation into Amazon. At the heart of the potentially abusive conduct is Amazon’s ‘dual role’. One the one hand, Amazon offers a marketplace for third-party sellers to offer their products to consumers. On the other hand, Amazon offers its own products through its marketplace. […]

Market definition for two-(or multi) sided platforms – demand interdependence and substitution as guiding principles

Market definition for two-(or multi) sided platforms – demand interdependence and substitution as guiding principles

The past year has led to a lot of discussion on the relation between competition law and (online) platforms and a lot of disagreement on how competition law should apply in such cases as displayed by comments on the major cases of Amex and Google. Unsurprisingly, one of the most contentious aspects of these cases was the market definition. It […]

The Commission’s Android decision: Google cements its dominance in search… to the benefit of consumers?

The Commission’s Android decision: Google cements its dominance in search… to the benefit of consumers?

Last week’s Commission decision on Google’s Android operating system made for great headlines. On top of the eye-watering fine of €4.3 billion, it even had the dubious honour of eliciting a presidential tweet. It was the kind of decision that sparked extensive papers long before its adoption, and a barrage of commentary immediately afterwards. Now that the dust has settled, […]

Tales of two-sided markets, market definitions and anti-competitive effects – insights from Ohio v. American Express

Tales of two-sided markets, market definitions and anti-competitive effects – insights from Ohio v. American Express

  The case of Ohio v. Amex is the final phase of a long legal battle that started back in 2010 where Amex was accused of infringing section 1 of the Sherman Act for imposing its anti-steering provisions on merchants accepting Amex. While not delivering on all fronts, the case of Amex is an important one in the context of […]